Press Release: PrimePay Becomes a Gold Sponsor of VetFran


Jenna Weisbord, 310-995-0839

PrimePay Invests Support to Help America’s Veterans through IFA’s VetFran Program

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 — The International Franchise Association’s Foundation (IFA) today announced that PrimePay will become a Gold Sponsor of IFA’s VetFran. PrimePay is a VetFran supplier member and their increased support to the Gold Tier represents an additional investment of $10,000.

“I was thrilled to hear that one of our amazing sponsors decided to invest their support in the VetFran program, helping us reach veterans around the country. PrimePay’s decision to increase its funding speaks to the success and growth of VetFran, and the ever-broadening coalition of companies that share our mission,” said Jeff Bevis, CFE, Chair of VetFran Committee.

PrimePay is a leading provider of payroll, tax, and HR solutions serving small businesses nationwide. Dedicated to supporting military veteran business owners, PrimePay launched their Veterans in Business (VIB) initiative to support and give back to the community. Through philanthropic activities, education, and a special product offering, the program is aimed to help veterans succeed at their highest potential.

“Becoming a Gold Sponsor for VetFran was an easy decision,” explained PrimePay CEO Bill Pellicano. “Our vision directly aligns with the VetFran’s mission to be a leading resource for veterans and their families in the franchising industry. We’re thrilled to become more involved and are excited for the opportunity to connect with more veteran business owners to help them succeed.”

Monty Heath, PrimePay’s Director of Veterans in Business and a U.S. Navy SEAL, represents PrimePay on the VetFran committee. Monty helps to steer the strategic direction and growth of the program.

Monty, an 11-year veteran of the U.S. Navy SEALs, also serves as the Director of Military Programs for Higher Ground and is Executive Director of the nonprofit VetToCEO. “Franchising is a great solution for veterans. I can’t wait to meet veteran franchisors and franchisees at the IFA conference this February,” he said.


About the International Franchise Association
Celebrating 56 years of excellence, education and advocacy, the International Franchise Association is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising and the more than 733,000 franchise establishments that support nearly 7.6 million direct jobs, $674.3 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy and 2.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law, technology and business development.

The IFA Foundation serves as the leading and trusted voice to both cultivate and shine a light on the unique value that the franchise business model offers the world. Its mission is to build a sustainable future by amplifying the best of what is and what will be in franchising. IFA Foundation programs include the Institute for Certified Franchise Executives, which administers the Certified Franchise Executive program; VetFran, which focuses on franchise opportunities for military veterans; NextGen, a program designed to increase franchising opportunities and awareness in young people; Franchising Gives Back, which helps franchise businesses highlight their community service and involvement; and the Diversity Institute, which works to grow economic opportunity for a diverse array of franchise owners and employees.

About PrimePay

Since 1986, PrimePay has been helping franchisees maximize profitability by allowing them to spend less time on back office tasks. This is possible through tailored franchise payroll programs, that ensure compliance and provide exceptional support throughout the employee lifecycle. PrimePay is proud to work with many national franchise brands.
For more on the West Chester, PA-based PrimePay and their work with veterans, visit

VetFran Meets with Congressmen in Virginia

By Matt Wiggins, VetFran Fellow

Last month, VetFran sat down with Congressmen Phil Roe and Dave Brat, strong supporters in Congress of VetFran’s mission. The occasion was a town hall event outside of Richmond in Congressman Brat’s 7th District of Virginia. The event was well attended and hosted a lively and engaged audience. Constituents gathered to discuss veteran’s issues, like healthcare and economic opportunity. Roe and Brat agreed about the vital role that veterans play in both Virginia and the nation as a whole.

Congressman Roe is the Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and sat down privately with VetFran to explain what he’s done on the VA Committee to help veterans. “Coming from a small business background I know what it’s like to work for myself, and I know that the last person who gets paid is the person who owns the business – everything else gets paid first,” said Roe. “I didn’t realize when I first got to congress how much of an impression that had made on me – working for yourself.” His legislative record demonstrates his progress. “We have passed this congress 70 bills out of committee, 26 have been signed into law. These are major pieces of legislation,” he added.

Roe sees the big picture on veteran’s issues as well, working to tackle some difficult mental health issues. “Next year I’m focusing on veterans’ suicide. We’ve put $8 Billion into this and the suicide rate is unchanged, so I want to look at that.” He feels the same way about homelessness among veterans, saying, “we’ve spent $7 billion on veterans’ homelessness and that’s not going down. Where is the money going? We’re going to look at opioid addiction, and we’re going to look at Electronic Health Records.” In terms of the Veterans Entrepreneurs Act, VetFran’s sponsored legislation piece, Roe called it “hugely important,” and has been a great supporter of its journey through congress.

Congressman Brat echoed a similar sentiment when he spoke with VetFran. “Veterans put up the ultimate sacrifice. Thanking veterans, rewarding them, keeping our promises to them is key,” said Brat. He isn’t just making promises either, he’s keeping them. “I sponsored HR 2135 – a bi-partisan bill that waives the SBA loan program fee,” said Brat, “[I’m] always in favor of every program that gets our veterans in the pipeline, and I signed on to the Veterans Small Business Act.”

When asked about the big picture for veterans going forward, Brat commented, “the best thing we can do for everybody is keep the economy running. Help veterans and our communities get jobs. Tax cuts and jobs act to keep the economy roaring.”

We agree with the congressmen, veterans benefit from a strong and dynamic economy. Thanks to the work of Congressmen Brat, Roe, and their peers, now is a great time for veterans to get involved in franchising and find their own business opportunities. For more information on how you can get started with franchising and to see the discounts available to veterans, please visit

Why the Franchise Model is Ideal for Entrepreneurial Veterans

This article was originally published on

By Monty Heath

Transitioning service members and veterans with the entrepreneurial spirit: Are you looking to place your passion, your mission focus into your own business? If so, a new mission awaits. Owning a franchise might be right for you!
The franchise model was created to help you succeed. Here’s why it may be the perfect next step in your transition.

A blueprint for success.
When we purchase into a franchise, we are effectively receiving an Operations Order (OPORD), a playbook, a blueprint for success.

As one might expect, military folks across the board have abundant experience executing orders and adhering to the playbook/blueprint, with each person pulling in the same direction.

With franchising, there is no need to recreate the wheel. There are no painful trial and error of products, and services/procedures having already been conducted –saving the franchisee blood, sweat and tears (aka time and money).

We are essentially purchasing viable and tested Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). And veterans are exceptional at executing SOPs.

Training & support you need.
Franchisors provide franchisees with support. Specifically, the critical training necessary to promote success.

This training pipeline may include computer systems, inventory topics, point of sale, payroll (PrimePay!), sales, marketing, advertising, and customer service. The type and frequency of this training will be outlined in the franchise agreement documents.

On the contrary, when an entrepreneur starts his/her own private business there is no support structure in place. There is no parent figure or organization interested in the success of the business. There is no dedicated training pipeline to access.

Becoming a franchisor provides you what you need, when you need it.

Work off a proven success record.
Franchised businesses, by their very nature, have proven past performance. The business model has shown success in one, or often numerous, market locations. There’s no wonder or worry if the product or service will be well received in the marketplace – the proof already exists.

The proof of concept, past (positive) performance, and a pathway for success exists.

To begin, here are 150 franchise opportunities that have shown consistent success and offer significant discounts and incentives to veterans.

All in all, veterans are quite possibly the perfect candidates to become successful franchise business owners. Veterans have the drive, the dedication, the mission focus to do what it takes. Incentives are available, SOPs exist, and your new mission awaits.


This article was written by Monty Heath, U.S. Navy SEAL & Director, Veterans in Business at PrimePay. Learn more about him by clicking here.

Franchising Gives Back

For all Franchisees, Franchisors and Supplier members of IFA.

The Franchising Gives Back Volunteer Activity will take place Friday, Feb 19, 2016 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm at the Warrior and Family Support Center(WFSC), part of the Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. The Warrior and Family Support Center (WFSC) provides coordinated services to patients, next-of-kin and extended Family Members with a primary focus on Wounded Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Warriors. It provides a friendly, comfortable environment in which to take a break, watch a movie on big-screen TVs, play video games, check email or use the Internet, select a book or magazine to read, make a phone call, or just grab a cup of coffee.

Franchising Gives Back Volunteers will have the opportunity to provide encouragement to veteran patients and their families by helping to maintain and beautify the surrounding grounds of the WFSC facility with gardening and grounds maintenance. To help volunteers be safe in the gardens, gardening gloves will be provided.

Wounded Warriors and their Family Members visit the WFSC to maintain contact with other military members or extended Family Members, to receive emotional support, answers to their questions, and to extend their rehabilitation away from the hospital. The rehabilitation involves learning to cope with war related disabilities as individuals, as couples, and as families.

To register for this event please contact Gionne Jones at

Veterans Gain Franchise Opportunities



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – January 14, 2016 – TWO MAIDS & A MOP, one of the nation’s fastest growing cleaning companies headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., recently signed franchise agreements with two U.S. Veterans through its partnership with VetFran, an organization dedicated to providing franchising opportunities to veterans and their spouses.

Through its VetFran membership, Two Maids & A Mop was able to provide veterans Matthew Lewellen and Michael Luda with franchise opportunities in Savannah, GA and Greenville, SC. Founded in 1991, VetFran member companies total 650 brands that offer financial incentives, mentorship and training for aspiring veteran franchisees and employment seekers.

“We are honored to work with VetFran and proud to provide these two deserving veterans with franchising opportunities,” says Ron Holt, CEO and Founder of Two Maids & A Mop. “The training these veterans received in their respective branches of service will serve them well in opening a Two Maids & A Mop franchise. We appreciate their service to our country, and we will continue to actively pursue opportunities for veterans like Matthew and Michael.”

These two new businesses will represent the 22nd and 23rd franchises opened to date. With its aggressive franchising strategy in place, the company currently serves nineteen markets throughout eight states and has plans to open more than 100 locations within the next five years. In addition, five new franchise locations across five states are set to open in the next four months.

“I am grateful and excited for this franchising opportunity with Two Maids & A Mop,” says Matthew Lewellen, new franchise owner and veteran of the United States Air Force. “The growth opportunity and unique marketing process is what attracted me to the franchise initially. But Ron’s success and dedication to his business became infectious during the discovery process, and this expedited my decision to develop the Savannah market immediately.”

Franchise locations of the Two Maids & A Mop brand have full access to replicate the successful business model created by Holt, including the industry-changing “Pay for Performance” compensation plan. With this model in place, office locations have experienced exponential growth along with a very healthy bottom line. The brand’s unique approach to its sales and marketing process allows franchise partners to quickly control a significant amount of their local market share by focusing solely on online marketing initiatives; including social media campaigns, search engine optimization and targeted digital advertisements directed to a demographically-profiled potential buyer.

“Two Maids & A Mop is providing me with an opportunity to build a business that is backed by a successful model of growth that has more than twelve years of proven success,” says Michael Cuda, new franchise owner and veteran of the United States Marine Corps. “I am excited to get started and would definitely recommend this opportunity to other veterans.”

With two different franchisee options available, a potential investor can choose to participate in the “owner-operator” model or the “absentee ownership” method. The “owner-operator” model involves an investor who has the money needed and a passion to run the business, whereas the “absentee ownership” method simply requires the investment while Two Maids & A Mop provides a qualified sweat equity partner to manage day-to-day and operate the franchise effectively.

The company also recently earned a spot on Inc. Magazine’s 2015 list of 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America for the third consecutive year. Two Maids & A Mop ranked No. 782 on the list, making them the second fastest growing cleaning company in America, the fifth fastest growing company in Birmingham and ninth in Alabama. Most recently, Two Maids & A Mop was awarded a Silver Award in the Stevie Awards Company of the Year – Diversified Services category of the 2015 American Business Awards, the nation’s preeminent business awards program.

Two Maids A Mop and its loyal customers attribute much of the company’s success to its steadfast business model and to its “Pay for Performance” compensation plan, a proprietary formula that determines employee wages based on customer feedback and is the only one of its kind in the cleaning industry. “Fast growth for a business without a proper infrastructure can actually undermine the success of a company. It is important for a fast-growing business to have a proper base of operations in order to handle the quick growth,” said Holt.

For information on Two Maids & A Mop franchising opportunities, please visit or call 205.870.8643.

About Two Maids & A Mop

TWO MAIDS & A MOP is a residential housekeeping company headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. The business uses a proprietary “Pay for Performance” compensation scale, where employees’ wages are based on customer feedback, as opposed to number of houses cleaned. Two Maids & A Mop was named the 2012 National Maid Service of the Year by Cleaning For A Reason, a nationwide charitable foundation that provides free house cleaning services to women undergoing cancer treatment. There are XX current locations spanning including Alabama, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

Five Military Veterans Win Home-Based Travel Franchises

Veterans won CruiseOne’s annual “Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General” contest and recognized at ceremony

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (October 5, 2015) – Five military veterans with a passion for travel were recently recognized as the 2015 winners of the fourth annual “Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General” contest. Hosted by nationally recognized military-friendly cruise franchise CruiseOne®, which is part of World Travel Holdings, the world’s largest cruise agency and award-winning leisure travel company, Operation Vetrepreneur awards free travel franchises each valued at $12,700 to five deserving U.S. military veterans, for a total value of $63,500.

 “Every year I am impressed by the high caliber of candidates who are passionate about travel and want to open their own franchise, and this year was no exception,” said Tim Courtney, CFE, vice president of franchise development and ambassador of veteran affairs for CruiseOne. “Franchising is a popular career choice for military veterans because many of their skills and traits from the military translate well with business ownership, such as integrity, management and thinking under pressure to name a few. We are so honored to be able to host Operation Vetrepreneur year-after-year and give back to those who have given so much for our country.”

 The annual “Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General” contest was open to former members of any of the five branches of the U.S. military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) who are retired, off active duty and/or honorably discharged prior to the contest start date this past May. Candidates participated in a rigorous three-part application process which included creating a business plan and phone interviews. More than 200 applicants from 45 different states submitted applications for “Operation Vetrepreneur.” This year’s winners included Navy Veteran James Eisenmann of Medina, Ohio; Army Veteran Larkin Frazier of Nashville, Tenn.; Army Veteran Mattie Johnson of Philadelphia, Penn.; Air Force Veteran Curtis Regester of Fredericksburg, Texas; and Army Veteran Bill Wilson of Meredith, N.H.

 The winners are attending a weeklong training at CruiseOne’s world headquarters in Fort Lauderdale and were honored with a special ceremony featuring city, state and county officials, as well as cruise line representatives. 

 A member of the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) VetFran initiative, CruiseOne is committed to giving back to the military community and offers many incentive programs to assist veterans in transitioning back to civilian life, including a 20 percent discount off the franchise fee and additional discounts for hiring former members of the U.S. military or active-duty military spouses as associates. CruiseOne’s military veteran ownership has a 90 percent success rate with more than 150 veterans opening a franchise since 2010. In addition, more than 30 percent of the home-based cruise franchise owners are military veterans or active-duty spouses.

 CruiseOne proudly supports military veterans and is consistently recognized by leading industry publications as a military-friendly franchise. CruiseOne’s accolades include a number one ranking by Military Times in its “Best for Vets: Franchises” two years in a row, and by Forbes in its “Top 10 Military Friendly Franchise.” The company also has been included on USA Today’s “50 Top Franchises for Military Veterans” and recognition as a “Top Veteran-Friendly Franchise” by Entrepreneur and U.S. Veterans magazines. For the past five years, CruiseOne was named to G.I. Jobs magazine’s Military Friendly Franchises® lists, which represents the top 10 percent of the nation’s franchises that are doing the most to support military veterans. 

 CruiseOne is committed to being “Rich in Diversity” and empowers all owners, franchisees and employees to reach their highest potential by leveraging their broad range of talent, experiences, personalities, viewpoints and ideas to generate business growth.

CruiseOne 2015 Operation Vetrepreneur Winners

 Photo Cutline (Left to Right): Army Veteran Larkin Frazier of Nashville, Tenn.; Air Force Veteran Curtis Regester of Fredericksburg, Texas; Army Veteran Mattie Johnson of Philadelphia, Penn.; Tim Courtney, CFE and vice president of franchise development for CruiseOne; Navy Veteran James Eisenmann of Medina, Ohio; and Army Veteran Bill Wilson of Meredith, N.H.


VetFran to be Featured in WSJ

In honor of Veteran’s Day on November 11, The Wall Street Journal will publish a special feature section highlighting IFA’s VetFran initiative and its contribution to franchising. This special promotion will drive awareness of the incredible work VetFran members do to serve our country’s heroes when they return home.

The IFA is proud to have built a strategic partnership with The Wall Street Journal over the years and this demonstrates how we empower our members to educate the public on your franchise opportunities.

Make sure to check out the Wall Street Journal on November 11 to see this special feature!  For more information about how you can participate in this special franchise veteran issue, please contact:

Roy Oteo – National Franchise Account Executive, The Wall Street Journal
Phone: 214-640-7847


Leading A TEAM Is a Natural Fit for Veterans

HomeTeam Inspection Service’s team home inspection service model coupled with the improved housing market is attracting more veterans to HomeTeam, now making up 15% of all HomeTeam franchises. HomeTeam has partnered with VetFran, a program through the International Franchise Association (IFA) to match qualified veterans with participating franchise systems. “Those with a military background have proven to be a great fit for the HomeTeam model. Unlike other home inspection companies, the role of the owner is that of a leader, who can develop teams of inspectors and execute a solid business plan.” says Tony Hill, Franchise Development Consultant for HomeTeam Inspection Service. Army Staff Sergeant Josh Holland has purchased an existing territory in Citrus county Florida after retiring from the military and working for the previous owner for over a year. Earlier in 2015, Army Ranger buddies Chuck Chenoweth and Jerry Jackson are growing the Texas market, where Chenoweth acquired an established business in Austin and Jackson purchased a new territory in San Antonio. And, most recently, retired US Air Force Pilot and retired Homeland Security law enforcement officer Carl Craig is scheduled to open in northern Virginia in October.

When asked why he chose HomeTeam, Jackson remarked: “HomeTeam is a very professional and values based organization with proven franchise success. The quality achieved through their unique team approach is superior and as an aspiring business owner, it was the best choice for me.” With over 26 years of leadership and organizational management experience, most of Jackson’s career was spent in the military intelligence field and special operations support. These new owners join the ranks of several other HomeTeam locations owned by veterans including Brian O’Rear in Louisville, KY, Colin Conroy in Pompano Beach, FL and Dwayne Moore in Prince Georges County, MD.

After thoroughly researching three home inspection franchisors, O’Rear bought a HomeTeam Inspection Service franchise back in 2009. “I realized that the home inspection industry was mostly filled with single-man operations and mom-and-pop style companies and that more professional companies are the wave of the future in this business,” O’Rear said.

HomeTeam is a proud participant in the IFA VetFran program and offers a full 25% off the franchise fee for qualified veterans.

Select HomeTeam Veterans:

home Team


SafeSplash Joins VetFran

We are proud to announce our affiliation with VetFran! SafeSplash Swim School offers a unique franchise concept teaching a life skill, swimming, that nearly every parent recognizes their children must learn. A parent will ensure to childproof the house and teach their kids not to talk to strangers, yet one of the most important things a parent can do is teach their kids how to swim. Besides the obvious importance of safety, swimming lessons can be rewarding and provide a lifetime of exercise and fun. SafeSplash Swim School has added 56 franchise locations this year to join the 29 company and affiliated locations.

Every aspect of our franchise business models create an experience that positively impacts kids, families, and the communities served. Key to SafeSplash’s success and growth is our centralized Customer Service Center that uses our proprietary software platform to handle many of the time consuming logistics of running a swim school. A second key to our growth is the location flexibility we provide. We not only have the option to build a dedicated pool, using our proprietary design specifically for the learn-to-swim customer, but also to contract with health clubs to host our SafeSplash Swim School franchise. Working with these “Hosted” locations allows for a low investment to enter the industry.

We also appreciate the importance of safety and want to say THANK YOU by offering veterans a discount on our franchise fee. For more information visit or contact James Orr at

Funding your franchise

Alexandra always liked the idea of owning her own business. And when she left her military career in the Navy, she decided to open up her own Smoothie King franchise on a military base, so those in the service would have access to healthy food options. Today, Alexandra operates seven franchises on military bases across the U.S.

When working on building out her seventh location, Alexandra realized she needed working capital to help get her store off the ground.  IFA Member StreetShares was able to provide Alexandra with a business loan in an inventive way where she was able to tell her story to help lower her rate. StreetShares offers a unique auction-based funding model where qualified retail and institutional investors review a business owner’s loan pitch and bid to back portions of the loan —It’s like Shark Tank meets eBay for business loans. To learn more about this new way to provide working capital for your franchise, visit

With her StreetShares loan, Alexandra was funded in a matter of days and was able to get back to running her business. To read Alexandra’s full story, check out the StreetShares blog, The Lamp Post.

TownePlace Suites Offers Great Service and Deals to the Military

TownePlace Suites was recently featured on the American Forces Radio Network and This interview highlights its dedication to the people, service and culture. In addition, the interview covers the military initiative, dedication to supporting the military community and Marriott’s overall Spirit to Serve program. To listen to the full interview, follow the link below:

Investing in Vets

Batteries Plus Bulbs’ Ownership with Honor Program Expands Franchising Opportunities for Entrepreneurial-Minded Veterans

In the United States Army, military personnel follow the leadership philosophy BE-KNOW-DO. BE means to believe in yourself and your mission. KNOW is to master the knowledge and skills required for a leadership role, and DO is to act upon what you’ve learned. This way of thinking translates to civilian life after service, and many entrepreneurial-minded veterans continue to live by it when starting a business.

Today, many franchises—small to large—recognize veterans for their leadership skills and multidisciplinary traits, and offer special funding programs to help them start a business. One of them is Batteries Plus Bulbs, the nation’s first, largest and fastest-growing battery and light bulb franchise. A VetFran member, the company offers an ongoing $10,000 discount off their franchise fee to qualified military veterans in select markets. With nearly 1.5 million people expected to transition out of the armed forces over the next few years, many will look to franchising as a new business opportunity. Batteries Plus Bulbs seeks to pave a new pathway for would-be “vetpreneurs” with the launch of a new landmark veteran ownership program called Ownership with Honor. The first-of-its-kind program offers over $210,000 in financial support to select qualified veterans to help them start a business. This equates to a nearly 85 percent discount off of the initial store investment. Additionally, Batteries Plus Bulbs will provide comprehensive training and ongoing support, such as a three-week training course, online module programs and field support, to help veterans get a store up and running.

Batteries Plus Bulbs’ franchise system has experienced great success with military veterans becoming franchise owners. Over 10 percent of their franchise-owned locations are owned by veterans. Jane Watts, who owns four stores in the greater Atlanta area, is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. She served as an electrician’s mate, where she frequently serviced the batteries on the boats, repaired equipment and changed out electrical circuits.

“The discipline, technical and leadership skills I learned in the U.S. Coast Guard transferred well to civilian life as a business owner,” says Watts. “I always wanted to own and operate my own business. I was drawn to the idea of following the processes and procedures put in place by a proven franchise system who could also offer me outstanding support and training. I’ve enjoyed building relationships with and serving many active and retired military personnel with needs-based products for their homes and businesses.”

Batteries Plus Bulbs’ Ownership with Honor program is available for a limited time, and only a select number of veterans will be beneficiaries of a franchise upon meeting specific qualifications. Those interested are encouraged to visit for more information and to fill out an application. To learn more about franchise opportunities with Batteries Plus Bulbs, visit

7-Eleven® Names Three Winners in OPERATION: TAKE COMMAND Franchise Giveaway.

Thousands of U.S. military veterans from across the country entered 7-Eleven’s OPERATION: TAKE COMMAND, a franchise giveaway exclusively for veterans. The caliber of applicants entering the contest was so impressive, picking a winner proved to be harder than expected. That’s why 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto decided to name – not one – but three grand-prize winners.

Active Duty U.S. Army Capt. Robert Kemna of Miami (currently stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina), Army veteran Salil Gautam of Chesapeake, Virginia, and U.S. Navy veteran Mark Anthony Page of Granbury, Texas, are the winners and will become business owners of their own 7-Eleven franchises.

“How can you pick just one winner when you can have three?” explained DePinto, himself an Army veteran. “These are the kind of folks we want in the 7-Eleven system, and I look forward to welcoming our three new Franchisees to the 7-Eleven family.”

The OPERATION: TAKE COMMAND franchise giveaway launched last Veterans Day. The top ten finalists were selected from thousands of applicants, and America was given a chance to vote for the top three via Facebook. The three finalists were flown to Dallas for one-on-one interviews with DePinto, with the intent of selecting one grand-prize winner. But DePinto was so “blown away” by the caliber of men, he made an on-the-spot decision to award all three with their very own 7-Eleven store.

The winners.

When Mark Anthony Page entered OPERATION: TAKE COMMAND, he was working long hours in the oil fields of West Texas, far away from his family living in Granbury. He saw the contest as a way to start a new career – close to home. Page has served four years active duty and another eight years in the reserves. When his military career ended, he put his leadership skills to work, teaching, coaching and mentoring young kids. Although the news of winning still seems a little “unreal” to him, Page’s enthusiasm about becoming a business owner is very real. “This is the American dream,” he said.

Salil Gautam’s military career began just one year after moving to the United States from Nepal. He joined the U.S. Army, where he served four and a half years and was routinely commended for his leadership skills and work ethic. After the military, Gautam used those same skills to succeed in the civilian workforce. As a businessman, he continually pays it forward by giving back a percentage of his income to support fellow veterans, and provide for kids in need in his community of Chesapeake, where he lives with his wife and son. “This honor means more to my family than words can express,” he said.

Robert Kemna is the only active duty winner, currently serving as captain of civil affairs with the U.S. Army Reserves and Guard until September 2015. Kemna, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., entered the contest while juggling a wedding, honeymoon, training and his active duty responsibilities. As his 15-year military career comes to an end, he decided to enter the civilian workforce. “I’ve had a lot of experience leading people and managing major operations. I didn’t want to start over with an entry-level position,” said Kemna, who learned about 7-Eleven while researching military-friendly franchisors.

The three OPERATION: TAKE COMMAND winners will receive a waiver of 7-Eleven’s franchise fee, valued at up to $190,000, to franchise any of the company’s 7-Eleven convenience stores available in the continental U.S. Gautam, Kemna and Page look forward to running stores near their homes and serving the communities where they will do business.

Best for vets.

Since 2009, the world’s largest convenience retailer has offered a 10 percent franchise fee discount to all military veterans who meet the company’s franchise qualifications. Last year, it increased to a 20 percent discount on franchise fees for retired veterans who have left the service in the last five years. 7-Eleven offers additional financial support and other benefits that make business ownership possible for the men and women who have served in our U.S. Armed Forces.

Never Thought You Could Be A Business Owner?

Well, We Have A Surprise For You…

On Tuesday, May 5, TownePlace Suites, The Small Business Administration (SBA) and VetFran will host a networking event and forum for military service members, veterans and their associates. Representatives from Marriott, SBA and Vet Fran will discuss how veterans and military family members can become hotel and small business owners and how existing veteran-owned small businesses can gain access to corporate supply chains. Learn the do’s and don’ts in trying to pitch corporations and what your capabilities statement should look like! Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to learn about available resources for the military community and the importance of entrepreneurship.

WHO: TownePlace Suites, The Small Business Administration and VetFran

WHAT: Connecting Veteran-Owned-Small Businesses to Corporate Supply Chains and Franchising Opportunities

WHEN: Tuesday, May 5 from 6:00pm – 8:30pm (EST)

WHERE: TownePlace Suites Clinton at Joint Base Andrews, 7800 Ferry Ave, Clinton MD 20735

WHY: During this year’s National Veteran’s Small Business Week, TownePlace Suites has partnered with International Franchise Association’s VetFran program and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide key insight to the veteran-owned small businesses community around gaining access to corporate supply chains.

RSVP: Due to limited space, please RSVP by Monday, April 27 to Ansley Brown:


WHAT:  Congressman Guinta hosts Veterans & Military Service Members Job Fair.

WHO:  New Hampshire active duty, National Guardsmen and women, reservists, veterans and their families are invited to attend.  Members of the press are also invited to attend.

WHERE: Great Bay Community College, 320 Corporate Drive, Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801.

WHEN:  Friday, April 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

VetFran Member Anytime Fitness Announced “Operation HeartFirst”

On September 14th, VetFran member Anytime Fitness announced “Operation HeartFirst” during its annual conference in Scottsdale, AZ,.  This new initiative is designed to help more military veterans open their own franchised gyms.  The initiative will provide veterans with a combination of funds, resources and support to help them open and operate Anytime Fitness clubs.

Anytime Fitness 3

The gyms will be similar to standard Anytime Fitness clubs, and they will be open to veteran and non-veteran members alike, but the gyms may also feature special amenities for veterans like “Rally Point” social spaces and opportunities to learn more about other veteran services.

Anytime Fitness has partnered with Derek Weida, a veteran of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, to assist with development of the initiative.  Weida served three deployments in Iraq between 2004-2007 and will begin operating an Anytime Fitness club in the very near future.

Moving forward, Anytime Fitness, which estimates that 10% of its current franchisees are vets, hopes to name at least one “Operation HeartFirst” recipient every year.  Details surrounding this exciting initiative are in the works.


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